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May 20, 2009

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"why are we protecting these guys?"

It takes a special kind of guy to characterize holding somebody for years without any legal recourse as "protecting these guys".

That's our Newtie.

"If Republicans block their release in this country, they can block the release of any detainee in this country."

Republicans don't have to lift a finger. Harry freaking Reid has got their back.

Thanks for keeping this on the front burner hilzoy.

"I would hope that my country is better than that."
Is naive the opposite cynical or just more respectable in your circle of friends.

“If Republicans block their release…”

Republicans can’t really block much of anything right now. You can blame them for a lot – but this is now on Obama and Democrats. Obama can release them any day he wants to. It’s Democrats who just decided not to fund the closing of Gitmo.

Democrats wanted to be in charge – they are now in charge. Gitmo, renditions, military tribunals, FISA – lots of change going on huh?

I've been reading different commentaries on this issue in an attempt to get some understanding of what the possibilities are for just disposition in the detainee cases. There is much support for outright release of those who appear to have no connections to terrorist activities. There is much politically based objection and/or reservation to outright release in the United States. But why, in all the world, has there not been third party countries willing to take these detainees? For those detainees where there remains evidence of real connections to terrorist ventures, I fail to see why Guantanamo Bay is not a suitable place for their detention.

But why, in all the world, has there not been third party countries willing to take these detainees?

Albania took some, a few years back.

i'd link, but... i don't think that's possible anymore. you can google it.

So we are forbidden by international law to return these guys to China for torture and execution. So what? Why would anyone think Newt (or others of his ilk) give a damn about international law? I just cannot see how anyone would expect that argument, accurate as it is, to have any impact.

"I was brought up to believe that when I made a mistake, I should admit it and try to do whatever I could to make it right. I think this is true of me, and I think that it is true of my country."

My feelings exactly.

GoodOleBoy: China does not want them released. Apparently, Canada came close to taking them a few years ago, but got worried about what might happen to a Canadian who is in Chinese custody. They brought a lot of pressure on Albania after Albania took in five of them, and tried very hard, and almost successfully, to block Sweden from granting asylum to one of those five.

But look: we are the ones who screwed up. Other countries wonder: if the US isn't willing to do this, why should we?

Look, hilzoy has laid out a great defense case. She has given them the benefit of every doubt and attacked every element of the prosecution case. Unfortunately, governments are charged with the protection of their citizens so they ask another question: just what were the Uighurs doing in a military camp in Afghanistan, under the supervision of a high ranking al Queda operative? Hilzoy says that they are "innocent": what's the "innocent" explanation for that?

Well, there isn't any(hilzoy doesn't even try to offer one, and neither have the Uighurs or their attorneys). The only rational explanation is that there were there to be trained as militants, with the purpose that they would go back to China to join in the independence struggle.

Now, the good thing about that is that the Uighurs probably had no problems with the USA; their beef is with China.It may just be then that its OK to release them in the USA. But let's understand that it would be risky. These Uighurs aren't just poor little lambs who have gone astray: they were up to no good when caught. If anything happens if they are released, its the Obama administration that will take the blame.

It's foolish -- it's not as though no one will be able to keep track of the Uighurs if they are released.


Uh, hilzoy, we are not very good at keeping track of people. I can think of nineteen foreigners that we didn't keep track of very well, and how THAT turned out .

The German government openly admits the same: Taking them could offend China and that could be bad for the economy => We don't want them.
The second reason is of course that this should be the US' problem.
(The main reason why Germany has been asked in the first place is that there is a Uighur community in Germany).

stonetools: "just what were the Uighurs doing in a military camp in Afghanistan, under the supervision of a high ranking al Queda operative? "

Can you provide evidence of this as the S government couldn't

Well, there isn't any(hilzoy doesn't even try to offer one, and neither have the Uighurs or their attorneys).

Um, yes she has. Have you been reading this series?

Uh, hilzoy, we are not very good at keeping track of people. I can think of nineteen foreigners that we didn't keep track of very well, and how THAT turned out.

But we weren't exactly trying to track them now were we? It's more than a bit disingenuous to evoke pre-9/11 apathy when discussing possible courses of action now.

GINGRICH: Send them to China. If a third country wants to receive them, send them to a third country. But setting this precedent that if you get picked up by Americans -- I mean, the Somalian who was recently brought here who's a pirate -- I mean, if you get picked up by the Americans, you show up in the United States, a lawyer files an amicus brief on your behalf for free, a year later you have citizenship because, after all, how can we not give you citizenship since you're now here, and in between our taxpayers pay for you -- this is, I think -- verges on insanity."

____________________________________________

I'm an immigration attorney who handles asylum cases. Not only would it be illegal for the USA to send these people back to China without a hearing should they set foot on US soil; virtually every statement that Gingrich utters about how our asylum system actually works is a grotesque mischaracterization, or outright lie.

His ignorance and demagoguery are stunning. I am repulsed and disgusted by this man.

Can somebody, anybody please stuff Newt back into his packing crate and ship him to longterm storage?

He was unbelievably weird and combative on TDS last night, although I thought Stewart did a decent job of holding his have-it-both-ways rhetoric in the light for all to see and hopefully mock.

The Pelosi-CIA "coup" the Republicans have glommed onto seems far too feeble for all their coordinated pot-banging.

a lawyer files an amicus brief on your behalf for free, a year later you have citizenship because, after all, how can we not give you citizenship since you're now here

I'll be the second immigration attorney on this thread to raise the point that Newt doesn't seem to know the first thing about immigration law. I'll keep that in mind if he weighs in later this year on immigration reform.

No one gets citizenship a year after they first arrive ... also, you have to be granted permanent resident status first as an intermediate step. You can't do that if you've been convicted of even relatively minor crimes like shoplifting or turnstile jumping. If the Uighurs committed any crimes more serious than shoplifting, then they can be tried and convicted like anyone else, and then deported. Even if they apply for and are granted asylum, they could be deported if convicted of certain crimes or shown to pose a security threat, unless they could prove to a rigorous standard that they would be tortured if sent back to China.

It's a more complicated picture than the one Newt puts forward, but it's what we've come to expect with the contempt for human rights and basic factual accuracy that he and his party have become known for. My sense is that many of the Uighur detainees would be more of an asset to this country than Newt.

"But why, in all the world, has there not been third party countries willing to take these detainees?"

It helps to know what you're talking about: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/guantanamo-bay_detainees.htm

Quote:
----------------------------
[...] On January 17, 2009, DoD announced the transfer of six detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Four detainees were transferred to Iraq, one to Algeria and one to Afghanistan

On December 16, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Bosnia and Herzegovina

On November 25, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of Salim Hamdan from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Yemen

On November 10, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Algeria

On November 4, 2008, DoD announced the return of one detainee from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Somaliland.

On October 8, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. One detainee was transferred to Algeria and one detainee was transfered to Sudan.

On September 02, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Two detainees were transferred to Afghanistan and one detainee was transferred to Pakistan.

On August 26, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Algeria

On July 28, 2008, DoD announced the tranfer of three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; one detainee was transferred to Afghanistan, one detainee to the United Arab Emirates, and one detainee to Qatar

On July 02, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of two detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Algeria

On May 2, 2008, DoD announced the transfer of nine detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Five detainees were transferred to Afghanistan, three to Sudan and one to Morocco.

On March 14, 2008, DoD announced that it had custody of Muhammad Rahim al-Afghani, a high-level member of al-Qaida captured in the War on Terror,previously held in CIA custody, and had placed him under control of the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

On December 28, 2007, DoD announced the transfer of ten detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Saudi Arabia.

On December 20, 2007, DoD announced the transfer of three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to the United Kingdom.

On December 12, 2007, DoD announced the transfer of fifteen detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Thirteen detainees were transferred to Afghanistan and two to Sudan.

On November 10, 2007, DoD announced the transfer of fourteen detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Saudi Arabia.

On November 04, 2007, DoD announced the transfer of eleven detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Eight detainees were transferred to Afghanistan, and three to Jordan.
-----------------------------

End quote.

I'm ceasing quoting only for reasons of length; if you read the list there, you'll read of another hundred-plus detainees, in specific detail, listing each country, date, and number of detainees, who have been taken by other countries.

So in other words: wtf are you talking about? And why don't you bother to simply look up the facts? Googling two words: "guantanamo" and "released" gets you that link as the first hit.

Another reader has quoted a couple of dozen press releases listing transfers of a couple of hundred Guantanamo captives. However, with only a few exceptions, these were NOT transfers to third countries. They were repatriations to their countries of citizenship.

The UK has taken back eight foreigners who had previously had legal residency permission. This is what is meant by a "transfer to a third country".

Eight of the former captives who were determined in 2004 to be innocent men were transferred to Albania. That was a "transfers to a third country". Sweden is going to grant Asylum to one of the Uyghurs in Albania, because he has relatives there. Boumediene is going to be granted asylum in France, where he has relatives.

Until recently the eight men accepted by Albania, and the eight men accepted by the UK were the only men sent to third countries.

In answer to why America's allies haven't accepted more of the captives the USA "cleared for release or transfer". One reason is that the USA didn't say: "We cleared these 100 men for release or transfer, and any free, democratic, country, where they will be safe, can have them, without conditions.

The USA approached its allies secretly, one at a time, and would only allow their transfer under draconian and onerous conditions. The negotiation the UK went through to get its eight residents back were frustrating, and dragged on for years. A couple of years ago they leaked the conditions the USA was trying to insist on. The UK could not have back Bisher Al Rawi, the former resident they really wanted, unles sthey were willing to take all eight. AND they had to agree to either imprison the men, or to subject them to round the clock surveillance.

"In answer to why America's allies haven't accepted more of the captives the USA "cleared for release or transfer". One reason is that the USA didn't say: "We cleared these 100 men for release or transfer, and any free, democratic, country, where they will be safe, can have them, without conditions."

Exactly. If they really wanted to solve this, they could add "We're so sorry for destroying your life, here's a large monetary settlement, and please consider not suing us so we won't have to threaten your new home country".

Duh, Gary. I was asking about the Uighurs in the post topic, not about others who have been released.

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